Thursday, April 9, 2015

Istanbul - Topkapi Palace & Grand Bazaar (Turkey)

A full circle from this end to the other, akin we went around Turkey's full moon, for returning to  Istanbul where arrived on the first day (I Conquered Istanbul). In all fairness, its been absolutely a joyous trip-travelling throughout the last 7 days. Indeed. But that packing almost every other day for moving from one hotel to the hotel, trust me, in some way or rather did get to us (Canakkale/Kusadasi/Pamukkale, Cappadocia & Ankara & Bolu) . Tiring. I too was caught in the web of winter. My first ever winter experience, I didn't come prepared because I relied on the tour agent's advise. I was told that thick jackets will do, when in factual fact, let me tell you that winter literally killed me. No other choice, I had to buy two winter coats during our visit to the retail outlet, thank god my credit card saved me. Otherwise, I can't imagine how would I have coped. But fortunately though, winter in Istanbul was rather tolerable. I didn't had to three or four times layer my body.

So back in Istanbul, we started off in Topkapi Palace, located in a huge area. We covered as much as we could within the first two hours, thereafter we walked to the Chinese restaurant for lunch. The first ever our kind of meal, not to say we didn't so far enjoy Turkish cuisine, but nothing like, believe me, a meal so close to our Malaysian ground. Done with the satisfying lunch, we walked back to Topkapi Palace. Recognised as the biggest, as well as one of the most popular sites in Istanbul. Built in between 1466 and 147 by Sultan Mehmet II, Topkapi Palace atop a hill faces Sea of Marmara to the south, Bophorus strait to the north east and also opens up with the Asian side great views. Topkapi Palace was the residence to the Ottoman Sultans for almost 400 years until the construction of the Dolmabahce Palace, in 1924, by the order of Attaturk, Topkapi Palace was converted into a museum. 

Go ahead, feel free and take your time. There's definitely aplenty to see in Topkapi Palace. The four main courtyards, numerous buildings, many rooms and chambers filled with collections of porcelain, robes, weapons, Islamic art, murals etc etc. Additionally, you shouldn't miss out on the Imperial Harem containing more than 400 rooms and the home of the sultan's mother, wives and concubines. Picturing is only allowed except on the outside. Pretty much that's about it for us on this day. Nothing more, dinner and to the hotel.     

On the last day before departing, we spend a couple of hours in Grand Bazaar. Not much of a difference compared to Spice Bazaar we have already visited, its all about retail therapy too in Grand Bazaar. Basically, shop till your drop, opt between the rows and row of shops, actually, most of them are selling the same stuffs. I did pick up some Turkish delights from the shop recommended by our guide. Isn't it the case with tour guides for making some side income? Presumably.

For lunch, I decided to try the famous fish burger from across the harbour. My two tour buddies wouldn't dare, wonder why such people call themselves as liberal and open minded travellers? Anyway, like I cared? I also grabbed a kimchi drink from the stall outside. Fish burger was a good try though I would have appreciated if they serve chilli sauce instead of lemon juice and pepper, whereas kimchi drink is basically the water world version of kimchi. Not bad. Sour salty burst. 

All ended within the next an hour, off to the airport for returning to home sweet home. But another of my first time experience akin awaited me once we have boarded the flight. Suspense. Will tell you in the next post. 

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